Film TV

Looking for Alabama

In 1993, Patricia Arquette portrayed Alabama Whitman in the movie ‘True Romance’, directed by Tony Scott. The script had been written by Quentin Tarantino, and although changes were made, the movie still has Tarantinto written all over it. In ‘True Romance’, Arquette – who can now be seen in a reoccurring role in ‘Boardwalk Empire’ – played a hooker who gets mixed up romantically with Clarance, one of her customers. Together they steal her pimp’s cocaine and takes off. One of the most memorable scenes in the movie is when she gets confronted with the character of Virgil, wonderfully portrayed by the late James Gandolfini. She gets beaten half to death, but… her spirit is never broken, and she never shows any weakness.

Patricia Arquette using a phone box because 'True Romance' is from the early 90s
Patricia Arquette using a phone box because, well… ‘True Romance’ is from the early 90s. The movie is still as entertaining as ever, though…

Quentin Tarantino of course, has a history of writing female characters with an above average tendency to feel the need to kick some ass, ‘Kill Bill Vol.1’ and ‘Kill Bill Vol. 2’ obviously being the best examples. Let’s not forget Uma Thurman’s character in ‘Pulp Fiction’, and Pam Grier’s character in ‘Jackie Brown’. Although not kicking ass as literally as the members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad of the Kill Bill flicks, they were still characters who didn’t take shit from anyone. And more importantly, they rarely showed any weakness towards their surrounding friends/enemies.
My question is this; where is the Alabama of 2013? Kerri Washington’s character of Olivia Pope on the show ‘Scandal’ is supposed to be one of those strong female characters, but to me she is quite the opposite. Obviously one cannot expect a character going through the tests of life never showing any weaknesses, but Pope seems to be constantly at war with her emotions. And her emotions win about 80% of the time. Tatiana Maslany’s character of Sarah Manning in the highly entertaining ‘Orphan Black’ could be considered a “Modern day Alabama”, and definitely more so than Kerri Washington’s Pope. So far, though, I am still waiting for another Alabama…

Tatiana Maslany in 'Orphan Black'
Tatiana Maslany in ‘Orphan Black’. Closest thing to a new “Alabama” we’ve seen in a while?

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